After my sister married in New Orleans 26 years ago, I swore I’d never go back in the summer, but my father’s 85th birthday and an opening for an exhibit of his at The Historic New Orleans Collection changed my mind. And while it wasn’t as hot as it’s been up here, the 1000% humidity does take some acclimating! No matter, though, because I holed up at fantastic new digs, The Hotel Peter & Paul.
This sprawling property in the Marigny is made up of a decommissioned Catholic Church (used as a dramatic event space, complete with ceiling frescos and stained glass windows), a schoolhouse that houses most of the hotel rooms, the rectory is an elegant dining room, a bright breakfast area, cafe, and cool bar, and even an ice cream parlor in a separate Creole cottage next door.
No detail was overlooked in the design and restoration of the buildings, down to antique furniture sourced worldwide, custom carpets, lush window dressing, plenty of trompe l’oeil painting, and the original floorboards and wide curving staircases. It’s simply stunning.
My sister and I stayed in a double queen, which was smartly laid out with a spiral staircase leading up to a loft which gave us semi-private spaces. On our floor, there was a gathering and workspace with a brilliant painted stage that we made hilarious use of, dancing around as we used to when we did “performances” for our parents. We didn’t realize until after that the painted doors on the stage behind us were actually more hotel rooms (and hoped that the occupants didn’t hear our raucous laughter!).
The restaurant, Elysian Fields, is helmed by the folks from Bacchanal, another favorite New Orleans haunt. We enjoyed both lunch and dinner of a fresh menu of locally sourced ingredients, carefully prepared, with Louisiana influences. The buttermilk fried head-on shrimp on vibrant Creole tomatoes is not to be missed!
The lovely thing about staying in the Marigny is it’s just a few blocks from the French Quarter but entirely out of the fray, in a quiet residential neighborhood. After a hot day roaming the Quarter, it was a delight to return to the cool, high-ceilinged spaces of our New Orleans home, if just for a few special days.
Visit Hotel Peter and Paul: http://hotelpeterandpaul.com
See Robert C. Tannen’s exhibit, Jackson Square, at the Historic New Orleans Collection through August 28th.
Read more about New Orleans here. https://the-e-list.com/new-orleans-update/